Nintendo’s Stance On Download vs. Retail Prices For Games

By Ishaan . May 1, 2012 . 5:31pm

As you may have heard in a report last week, Nintendo will begin offering the majority of their retail first-party Nintendo 3DS games in the form of both physical boxed goods as well as downloads via the Nintendo eShop this summer. This initiative will begin with New Super Mario Bros. 2, scheduled for release in August.


There are two things of importance to note about this initiative. Here’s the first:


Nintendo will not price physical and download versions of games differently. If you download a Nintendo game directly off the Nintendo eShop in the comfort of your own home, it will cost you the same as it would to buy the boxed version.


Explaining why this is to investors, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, stated that Nintendo do not feel that downloadable versions of games are of lower value than physical copies. For instance, Iwata suggests, there are consumers who value the convenience of being able to take all your games with you at once, instead of having to carry multiple cartridges around to have access to your entire library.


Certain third-party publishers around the world feel similarly, too. “We have found that their opinions are completely divided on the topic of the price points of the digital distribution of packaged software,” Iwata reports. “Some publishers believe that the digital versions should be cheaper while others insist that both versions must be set at exactly the same price.”


Iwata didn’t take any names, but this isn’t an uncommon approach for certain publishers. For instance, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim both currently cost $59.99 on Valve’s Steam service—the same as their retail prices—and those are just two examples. That having been said…


…Retail stores will be selling the download versions of these games as well, in addition to the regular boxed versions. For the download versions, they will be allowed to set their own prices, perform sales, and so on. Effectively, they’ll be able to treat them like physical goods, so you could potentially find bargains on download titles at different retailers.


Why are retailers being allowed this option? To give consumers a choice while not throwing retailers under a bus, is about the gist of it. Furthermore, Iwata expects that the step will lead to individual retailers pricing their downloadable products competitively, in order to take advantage of their strengths, just like with physical games.


“There are several types of retailers,” Iwata said to investors. “A retailer that offers products at comparatively high price but provides good services and is in a convenient location, or a retailer that only focuses on offering products at lower prices than others do. I expect to see sound competition among retailers that takes advantage of their strengths as they have done so far.”


So far, we only know that all of above applies to Nintendo’s own first-party titles. What approach third-party publishers will take remains to be seen. The only third-party retail game that has been announced as a Nintendo 3DS download-only title so far is Unchained Blades, a dungeon-crawling RPG that will be published by Xseed.

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  • Herok

    I like this method because even though I vastly prefer physical items, digtal has alot of advantages and now, instead of being one price forever on the online store like most non-steam online stores the price can change which is great seeing as games like SMT:DSO for 3ds got more expensive when all the carts were gone, now we can’t get in that situation if a store is selling codes to a game. 

    • Solomon_Kano

      Not necessarily. A lack of physical carts will still keep physical prices high for those that still want them after a game is out of stock. That certainly is good for those willing to go for a digital copy though. No worries about some second-hand banditry.

      • Herok

         Well I meant that people would still be able to buy it as opposed to not at all like before, but the people that only buy physical would probably be used to ridiculous prices by now

        • Solomon_Kano

          Ah. Gotcha. Though, if reactions to digital only games are anything to go by, there’s probably gonna be a nice group who opt for “not at all”. A pity too.

          • Herok

             I know because some games like Unchained Blades can be localized without the risk of making to many copies that won’t sell or will sell to fast and be gone.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, some people just refuse to see any good in that though. Sure, it might not be the preferred method of getting games, but it’s a benefit to the publisher which leads to more localizations down the line.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Digital copies sold in store that are treated the same as the physical? Amazon’s gonna have a field day with the sales there. I like that. I like that a lot. Especially with how the 3DS’ memory operates. I’ll take that over slightly cheaper digital versions. I think this is a much better way.

    All in all, I’m just happy to see Nintendo’s overall digital stance improving. Progress is a very good thing.

    • Funny thing, @malek86:disqus and I were just talking about that earlier today. If Amazon wanted, they could just undercut the crap out of everyone. That way, you’d get the convenience of not having to travel to a store and your discounted price. I’m very interested in seeing how this whole arrangement changes game pricing over the next year or two.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Yea, I really can’t wait to see how this goes. Amazon is pretty much the physical media equivalent to Steam, so it should be interesting to see what they do if retailers have free reign here.

        I see two possible scenarios:

        1) Amazon forces other retailers to adopt more flexible pricing structures or go through sales more just to remain competitive


        2) as a result of no. 1, physical retailers go back to complaining about how Amazon’s business tactics are unfair to them and attempt to turn this into another legal matter

        I don’t think any retail chains would particularly care about this enough to go with no. 2, but ya never know. As it stands now though, this is looking to be very good for us consumers.

        • PoweredByHentai

          I thought Amazon was bigger than most physical retail chains combined.

          • Solomon_Kano

            I’m pretty sure they are myself, but a couple years back a group of retailers (some local, some chain) banded together to take them to court in the name of “fair business”. Had to do with price cuts, not charging tax for most, etc.

            They lost, but it certainly has the chance to pop back up. Or so I think.

          • PoweredByHentai

            “They lost” being the retailers?

            While we’re on Amazon, I’m not fond of the idea of Amazon having to charge state sales tax considering that their entire operation is conducted online, which is well within the federal government’s jurisdiction and not the states’ jurisdiction.  A unified federal tax rate across the board for the various states would be the fair way to go about Amazon’s state sales tax issues.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, the retailers. If memory serves, the tax issue was a major part in the case falling apart. Tax man, slippery stuff there.

          • PoweredByHentai

            Yeah, I love Amazon’s service and while I do agree that Amazon has to pay taxes, forcing Amazon to pay state sales taxes isn’t the right way to go about it for both moral and jurisdictional reasons.

      • malek86

        I don’t really think it will make much of a difference from what it does now, if Amazon sells codes in the same way they sell boxed games. After all, shipment is already free. They might have sales once in a while, but that wouldn’t really be too different from having sales on boxed games.

        Overall, this might be a problem if people actually saw the convenience of digital games over retail ones. But we don’t know whether that will be the case yet.

        Aside from that, Amazon is already a problem for every retailer, digital sales or not. So it’s not like things will be different from now.

  • riceisnice


    *Reads the entire document for an AC 3DS release date to no avail*

    *Starts Crying*

    • Don’t worry, it will come soon! :3

  • You should be able to have a download version if you buy the physical copy. Then you can have all the wonderful boxart, etc. while having the convenience of not having to carry Game Cards with you.

    • Steam does this, I bought a retail copy of The Last Remnant and there was a code in the booklet that let me download the game on Steam.

    • Ryan Baer

      Problem with this is that it promotes used copies. Whats to stop you from trading in a game you can still play, and then flood the market with used copies? This’ll take away sales from the new games.

      • Solomon_Kano

        I’d imagine he means the physical copy should come with a DL code as well. That would do used buyers no favors.

    • James Beatty

      Problem though. You have a retail copy and a digital copy, you keep the digital copy and sell the retail copy. That’s not good for business. 

    • Herok

       That would be great but thats 2 copies for the price of one so it discourages sales because people would just buy one game and give one copy to a friend making the company’s lose money

      • Guest

        Or they can trade in the game in a place like Gamestop and not only receive credit for even more games, but will still be able to play the game you traded in because you still have the digital copy (which is also very bad). What Yirba said was a very good idea, but not without it’s abusive consequences, so…..sorry.

        EDIT: Fixed errors.

        • Herok

           Do you think companies could lock down the digital download to the first system that used the cart because that might stop the people who prefer to have a physical copy from sell it or they could implement reason why you have to have both.

          • WilliamJasper

            Sure, but that will just leave other people to still abuse it. Used-buyers buyers are still able to do this.

          • Nemesis_Dawn

            So if your system ever breaks down, you’d have to buy a whole new library?!?

          • Herok

             Um no when I have sent my systems to Nintendo for minor changes most of my games were on the flash card that comes with the system, which they tell you to keep and they are good at transferring the rest of the data, also they are working on an account system to stop this I believe.

    • When you go digital you don´t rely on physical to enjoy your product, the inverse also happens with physical not relying on digital.

      Get the digital copy:
      -Risks losing access because of DRM servers or losing access to your account. 
      +Your purchase allows you to download your game as many times as you need in case something bad happens with your copy.

      Get the physical copy: 
      -Risks losing access thanks to losing the disk. 
      +Your purchase allows you to ignore the need of internet connection or DRM servers.

      If we make a physical-digital hybrid model, we would be bringing the risks of both models to the same product: A boxed copy that doesn´t work because of DRM servers being down or lack of internet connection. I imagine this will be the case with Diablo III and many other games.

      Of course, there are also not-so-pessimistic examples, like the indie humble bundles that keep appearing once every two or three months. You pay once, get access to a digital copy, which you can then turn into a physical copy and then get the benefits of both models. You even get access to the soundtrack of some games too.

      Also another alternative is to just simply allow boxed games to install themselves inside the consoles and then ignore the need of disks/cartridges to run the game. But then there is the risk of piracy or “buying second-hand installations”, which in the long run would hurt the industry.

      But this is just my opinion and I do agree that what you suggest, if done well, is a nice way to bring the benefits of both worlds.

  • OverlordZetta

    I have to say, I agree with the sentiment. It may be a pain when it comes to filesize and download speeds, but that’s not the fault of people making the game. At the end of the day, the digital product is no different than the physical one and therefore it should cost the same.

    • Ryan Baer

      The digital product is no different? Theres one big difference: You own the game if you get the physical copy, and you only have a file if you buy digitally. I’d never consider buying a digital version unless its like half off, since I prefer to actually physically own games.

      • kool_cid414

         Even then it’s said you only own the disc or cartridge and not the content inside. I think it kinda balances itself out.

        • Tom_Phoenix

          I….don’t see how that balances out anything. The point is that having a physical copy grants you ownership rights (such as being able to sell or borrow your copy) that a digital copy doesn’t.

          • OverlordZetta

            And why should any of that even be relevant here?

          • Tom_Phoenix

            It’s relevant beacuse it represents a form of risk mitigation.

            The fact is, no matter how well you do your research, you ultimately won’t know whether or not you will like a game until you actually play it. But games are an expensive commodity (maybe not as expensive as some other things, but the cost does stack up) and having to spend a full price on a game you might not end up liking is tough to swallow. This is where the ability to sell or borrow your copy comes in handy:

            – If you buy a game at full price and don’t end up liking it, being able to sell your copy helps you recuperate at least part of the loss and thus not feel as burned by the purchase.

            – Likewise, if you feel uncomfortable paying full price for a game you’re not sure about, buying a used copy gives you a less expensive way to try it out.

            – If you’re trying to convince someone that a game you played is awesome, being able to borrow them your copy gives that person a way to experience the game at no cost to themselves.

            With digital copies, you don’t have those rights. Meaning that if you spend full price on a game and don’t end up liking it, tough sh*t; you’re not getting even a part of your money back. Game over, better luck next time.

            However, digital distribution service providers/publishers do have one way to mitigate the risk of buying digital games for consumers…..and that is through price. By selling the game at a (heavily) discounted price, it makes buying a digital copy a more attractive option for a consumer. While the risk of not liking the game remains, a lower price will make a consumer much more willing to actually take that risk. Why else do you think that games on the App Store limit themselves to such a low price range or that Steam has sales so often?

            Overall, buying a physical or a digital copy most definitely IS NOT the same thing, even if we are ultimately talking about the same product. The risks a consumer faces when buying digital are much greater, hence why expecting the price of digital games to be lower in order to at least somewhat compensate for that is not unreasonable.

          • Actually there are quiet a few service that allows you to sell digital copy…well that’s only if you buy it from the respective seller. If I remember correctly I sold a digital copy of a game for Sonic Generation steam code. 

          • Tom_Phoenix

            As far as Steam is concerned, you can gift and trade digital copies, but only if you haven’t activated them yourself. But you’re not allowed to SELL your games or the account they are on, since that is a violation of Steam’s Subscriber Agreement. Furthermore, if you happen to get any Steam Vouchers for any game, they are non-transferrable; meaning only you yourself can use them.

            Now, obviously, this is all strictly legally speaking; “shady” deals are another matter.

          • @Tom_Phoenix:disqus …I kind of knew that already

      • OverlordZetta

        … That’s a load of crap if I ever did see a load of crap.

        And I’ve seen loads of crap in my day.

    • kidcoyote_anarchy

      Physical games having costs such as manufacturing, distributing, and retail mark-ups. When you go digital, you for go these costs, cut out the retail middle man, and makes the digital copy cheaper to produce.

      Digital products also don’t have the added costs of keeping inventory. Since the publisher and Nintendo are cutting costs going digital, I don’t think it’s too far fetched to ask them to pass the savings down to the consumer.

      Nintendo should be honest they just don’t want to undercut physical sales, and the extra profit made through a digital purchase over a physical one doesn’t hurt them either.

      • OverlordZetta

        And that’s irrelevant to us.

        We are buying a game. Period. Either way, the game is going to be the same game. If you’re getting the same product, you, the consumer, are – I’ll say it again:


        It doesn’t matter which way you buy it. You people are just looking for an excuse to spend less. Grow up.

        • But I like things like art books, CDs, or just cases and instruction booklets in general — none of which come with digital purchases.

          I expect to pay less for software that comes without any or all of that.

          • OverlordZetta

            You aren’t paying for those things. You are paying for the game, and in either situation, you get it.

          • cj_iwakura

            I think it’s common knowledge that creating packaging material for games is largely the most expensive part of the publishing process. So when you take that out of the equation, it’s pretty much ALL profit for the publishers. Kind of crooked to keep making us pay extra, then, isn’t it?

        • The entertainment value is the same, but just stopping there would be missing the entire picture. Is it so unreasonable to ask for a lower price for a situation where publishers have significantly reduced their production costs and can replicate data limitlessly? It’s not like (level-headed) people are asking for games for dirt cheap. I know they still have online equipment to maintain, and there were development costs, so I’m personally still willing to pay. But publishers have to be considerate of customers too.

          And I’m pretty sure spending money blindly is not an obligatory trait in a gamer.

        • Oh wow this got to be the best comment ever.

        • icecoffemix

          It’s called added value.

          It’s up to each person whether the physical or the digital one has more value to them (obviously), but this may be a deciding factor.

        • eilegz

           its not the same, i wish they sold warriors orochi 3 on physical form on america after looking the “digital manual” its just amazing… the lack of those justify a lower price because the “PRODUCT” itself its not the game only but what it includes the package and everything in it.

    • eilegz

      Dont agreee, and even at high price i bought WO3, the download time, the space it takes its just painful its even worse when we consider that the wii U could be like the wii with 512mb of nand and force you to buy SD card, its pretty retired model for nintendo and i really hope they flop….

      If you see physical copies of the game in retail store usually cost less than digital on demand xbox360 and full ps3 games.

      Steam its successful because they have to do sales and have offers, if they dont do it like that steam wouldnt be that great…

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    I have to say Retail games are better nothing beats buying a hard copy of a game
    + Downloaded games oddly cost more then Retail games and who know how much GB will the Wii-u have

  • Paradox me

    I’m not a huge fan of digital distribution, but allowing retailers to sell digital content competitively is an excellent move, especially since I don’t expect console manufacturers to offer decent, regular sales anytime soon.

    I just hope it encompasses most, if not all, third-party titles, rather than just Nintendo’s games. That they’ve gotten feedback from publishers makes me think it’ll cover the big games at the very least.

    • Brandonmkii


  • SetzerGabbiani

    I’m of two minds on this.  I’m under the impression that it should be cheaper if it is provided online because there are absolutely NO manufacturing costs that need to be considered.  A ROM is uploaded and people then download it.  At the same time, the question is “Do companies diminish the value of their product when they do that?”  Nintendo, more than others, are very wary of the prices of their first party efforts.  I can’t imagine Nintendo offering content for different prices for their own games no matter what medium is used.

    • Paradox me

      I’m under the impression that it should be cheaper if it is provided
      online because there are absolutely NO manufacturing costs that need to
      be considered.  A ROM is uploaded and people then download it.

      Which makes me wonder about the costs of digital distribution, such as servers, bandwidth, technicians and the cost to run said servers 24/7.

      I don’t doubt that it’s cheaper than printing physical media and shipping it all around the world, but I’d be interested in hearing from someone with experience in the matter.

  • Man, 3DS Animal Crossing environment looks sexy!
    (Off-Topic FTW!)

  • Dis one humie, AlphaOmegaSin on da Youtubez, brought up an’ interestin’ thought.

    On Xbox Live, gamez youz can digitally buy cost more moneyz den ta buy ’em in da storez, what if da same appliez ta this?

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

       AlphaOmegaSin  rants are godly

  • I’d imagine that without the cost of manufacturing the cartridges and the boxes, printing all them covers and manuals and hauling them off to stores the prices of games should actually be quiter less on the e-store, but you know how it goes. Money, dear boy!

  • I personally think the digital copies should be a lot cheaper, on psn I noticed when games like assassin’s creed 2 and battlefield 3 first came out they were like, £50.00 whereas instore they were £40, and online on websites such as Amazon and Shopto it was more like £35.00. If they are going to put them up for digital download they should either match the price of most retail stores, maybe slightly cheaper since there is no packaging for it whatsoever. Another thing that needs to be looked at is returns, with rental stores going down the drain these days A lot of places don’t offer rentals. So if you buy a game which is either buggy as hell or you don’t like it there’s no way you can get your money back (capcom did this I believe, they put a game up on psn for digital download with no returns accepted) and when questioned about it they admitted to not checking with Sony about the returns policy and tried to pass the blame onto Sony before realising the fault was theirs and EVEN then they still didn’t offer a refund or anything. if digital downloads are going to be the ‘in’ thing we as consumers still need our consumers rights, but with digital downloads they seem to just blow it out the window and they get disregarded to some degree. if you want evidence for this capcom case check out this guy on youtube called EventStatus he makes a lot of good videos and goes in-depth about game companies etc. 

    my verdict in short (for anyone that doesn’t want to read the mammoth wall of text)- digital copies, good idea. pricing needs to be fixed and consumer rights need to be the same as when I buy a physical copy. Otherwise i’m still going to buy the physical copy and feel ‘safer’ getting a physical copy.

    • Herok

       Thats the beauty of this stores can make the digital download cheaper and many will to stay competitive

  • Domii

    So ummm….. Who wants some apple pie?

  • Apache_Chief

    So this basically means that Nintendo won’t be selling very many digital copies directly through the eShop. How many people buy used new releases for $55 instead of new for $60? Now how many more will do that when they are literally the same product?

  • MrRobbyM

    Well that’s the biggest pile of horse crap I’ve ever heard. Another reason why games are expensive is the cost of shipping them out and making the game cases, manuals and cover art. With all that cut out, you’d think it’d be cheaper, no? The convenience of having the games on your console should be free. Think about it. You’re paying for a digital copy of a game rather than actual physical matter. Why do you think digital albums are cheaper than buying physical copies…?

    Exactly. Answer is, people are willing to pay so I don’t have a problem with that, I just don’t think it’s fair. Companies will try to get as much money as they can and that’s just how the world works.

    • Quinton Rivera

      What record stores have you been shopping at? My local Best Buy and even Hastings have prices about the same or better than iTunes, Zune or Amazon MP3. Also, if you’re going to use that flimsy argument, why aren’t ALL eBooks priced lower than printed copies? A kindle edition of most popular books is just as expensive as a physical copy. 

      This is a good idea, as retailers can lower prices on digital copies. Don’t wanna pay full price? Protip: Don’t buy it straight from the eshop. This is a step in the right direction, as digital distribution on everything but PC sucks hard when it comes to pricing. For example, to download the original edition of Mortal Kombat 9 on XBL, it’s $50. That’s ridiculous. Pricing is just as bad on PSN. To see this as a bad move is to be totally in denial about how bad digital distribution CURRENTLY is.

      • But having to actually go out to a store to buy a digital copy to save a few bucks makes the whole digital distribution kinda senseless. I mean, the convenient thing is that you can buy it wherever you are, whenever you want. I’m not saying that everything sold digitally should be dirt cheap, but at least some things should be considered, like aforementioned lack of physical distribution costs (game disc / cartridge, printing of manuals & covers, etc) of course the online distribution does require the publisher to pay for server costs as well, but all in all, if you compare the two cost factors for the publisher, I do think something like 5% off a digital copy would simply be fair. Also: A digital copy is one less copy that might end up being sold second hand, so even more win for the publisher, so it would be smart of them making digital copies as attractive as possible.

        And most of the bad pricing on digital console stores like XBL and PSN aren’t the fault of the companies behind the store, but rather the publishers’ who are in charge of the prices and some of them even do adjust their prices, if enough people voice their concerns about them being too high, like Atlus did a couple of weeks ago for their PSN store titles. 

      • MrRobbyM

        Wow, it’s like you totally didn’t miss the point of what I was saying.

  • Well.. if the downloadable titles prices are gonna be the same as the retail copies, and they are going to be online the same day and the retail ones…it´s not gonna be that bad for people over here. We have to pay sometimes 10~15 extra dollars for 3ds games(well, more like for every game =S ) because of taxes.

  • Cool, digital thingy doesn’t affect me anyway because I’m all for physical boxed.

  • It´s a good approach I guess. At least it covers one of my worries of digital distribution on consoles, which is the lack of price competition.

  • I’m all for physical copies. SD cards can get quite pricey (for the good ones at least) and storing full first-party Nintendo games are sure to take up quite a bit of space. Plus, I like having pretty cover art to look at when I want to. :3

  • kool_cid414

    I’m a bit half and half on this. I prefer digital media just because I have to worry less about broken discs and if on an account system like psn if you delete the content it can be redownloaded which as far as I know isn’t quite possible with physical media so I guess the convenience of that justifies the same price although I think (only a guess since I’m not a game developer) the cost of physical distribution is as far as I know higher than what it takes for it to be kept on a server with bandwith and all that so it seem a bit odd to charge the same price although I can see why they do it. Most important thing which we must never forget is as long as it’s good and available I (and most people as far as I know) will probably get it.

  • Visa Vang

    Know what? When I buy the “real” one (physical), I also want a downloadable version of it. I wouldn’t mind paying extra for it. We should have 3 options, physical, digital or both. It’ll work just like the Blu-Ray – DVD and Digital combos you see at any retailer store.

  • People will not think less of a game just cos digital is priced lower, people will expect a LOWER price BECAUSE it is digital!!

  • I find it humorous that everyone thought digital distribution was the future. I think a majority of gamers have made it clear that they don’t want that to be the case.

    Also, I admire Iwata. There is something about him that doesn’t scream “evil overlord CEO” to me. More like “We just want to make money while pleasing the fans.” And I think it’s working. Nintendo is the only one of the big three that hasn’t totally pissed me off in this generation. 

    Nintendo is always late to the simple things like digital distribution, but at least they know how to please their fans. 

    • OverlordZetta

      That’s just because the majority of gamers are a bunch of spoiled brats that think they’re entitled because they’re buying one way over another now, which is ridiculous.

      It IS the future. The real problem is getting internet connection and HD space to match it.

      • MrRobbyM

        Exactly. I like to think that physical media will stick around for a long time as long as enough people want it. But as time goes on, companies will make less physical copies as digital distribution slowly gets more popular.

      • cj_iwakura

        I’m fine with DD, except for Steam and DRM-type publishers. With GOG, if I buy the game and install it to my computer, I can play it whenever I like.
        Steam? No online? No game for you. Eff that.

      • I’m fine with either. But to call them spoiled brats because they prefer physical copies over digital distribution? That’s extreme. There are pros and cons in physical distribution too, for example, jobs (looking at the wider picture in it all). It’s definitely not the near future for consoles, but PC gamers seem to have embraced it pretty well. Hell, I love Steam. xD

  • CirnoLakes

    Basically just a bad excuse to charge more.

    Part of the reason that digital distribution costs less most of the time is because it costs publishers less to distribute copies that way.

    I like Nintendo, but this isn’t admirable at all.

    • Well, by letting the retailers compete price-wise with digital versions, that alone should encourage the prices to drop on digital versions, so would be trying to price against Target, Walmart, Gamestop, etc.  Competitive pricing for digital downloads can only be a good thing.

  • However, prices of download games should decrease over time. Some stay the same, while the physical copy decreases in price. It makes no sense.

    • They talked about that at their investor briefing presentation. That’s why retailers are playing a part in this–so that there can be markdowns on the download versions alongside the retail versions.

      (Only at stores, though. Direct eShop transactions are still under publisher control)

  • Code

    Mhm have to wait and see how this pans out, but this just sounds unwieldy to me. Basically Nintendo’s trying to change the way game stores do business, but it’s not really up to Nintendo, it’s up to retailers. Not saying they won’t give it a shot, but I have a feeling this might be a hard system to get adopted on a wide scale, especially outside Japan. But on top of that Nintendo’s somewhat clumsy online services, as well as inflexible pricing in the past, makes me concerned. 

    When it comes down to it though, it’s a really, really, hard argument. Digital just doesn’t have a reason to be priced equally to physical copies simply by the nature of it o~o; Can’t help but feel like Nintendo’s playing to companies, not the consumers with this move T3T; I get they are trying to create layers of pricing competition. But I can’t help but feel like it’s simply denying you potentially deals at home, it’s like the most counter intuitive internet usage I can think of opo;

    • You can still buy from the eShop, you also have the option to buy from Amazon, Walmart, Target, or Gamestop as well, so basically you have competing firms to help drive the download price down, so you can pay prices lower than the eShop price.

      • Code

        True, but if your always going to end up paying more through the eshop option, that kind of makes it kind of a terrible option opo; I feel like the problem is between eshop, retailer physical, and retailer digital, there is a lack of incentive for purchasing digital at all; unless this service really takes off and competition actually does drill digital prices into the ground. 

        Although I still argue Nintendo could still do all this, and still have eshop/digital titles cheaper then retail. The convenience of not having discs, isn’t something to charge customer for; it’s no reason to inflate the price. Fact is if you purchase digitally it means you also can’t take the game to a friend’s house, it’s tied to your machine, and using your HDD space (a good chunk of it too if it’s anything like 360/PS3 games). Both mediums have trade offs, but the difference is physical has reasons for costing more, through manufacturing and shipping. Digital doesn’t share the same costs (sure it’ll have bandwidth costs, but were still talking a different price bracket). 

        Overall I’m still highly skeptical of how wide spread such a service will end up being for retailers.

        • Frankie”Two Times”

          I agree,you’re not getting a case,manual,or cartridge/disk so why should it be anywhere near the same price as a physical release???

          Well, Imo I have always thought since you’re getting half of a product the games price should be slashed in price by 50%.

          • MisterFoxInc

            As was mentioned in the article, downloadable games have other benefits, such as having several games with you all the time without having to carry the cartridges around, and you also have the games available to you anywhere, anytime (in theory.) Not to mention that a few developers and publishers already picked up the habit of releasing rudimentary manuals or no manuals at all because of things like in-game-tutorials and the such. With manuals, one of the main-benefits of physical games, slowly vanishing, physical games become of less use (again – in theory.)
            Then there are other factors. For example, although publishers don’t have to pay for packaging and shipping anymore, someone has to pay the busy servers that people download the games from on launch day and the days to come. Stuff like that.

            Though in essence, the problem remains – do these benefits and factors really account for the price? Hell, don’t ask me.

  • Hm, when will we be able to sell digital copys on ebay? and would it even make sense to mark a digital copy as preowned there?

  • xxx128

    As a customer i believe downloads should be free. Thank you gaming industry.

    • Dantis

       That makes you a leech, not a customer.

    • and thats makes you a pirate too

    • Jirin

      As a representative of the gaming industry, you know, you’re right.  You convinced us!  From now on we will all only produce games for free.

      Attention employees!  From now on, we will be making no profit, so we will be needing all of you to work for free.  Just know, you’re producing quality entertainment.

      Hey, where are you going?!

  • malek86

    Why are people getting so worked up about the whole “ownership” issue? Nowadays even physical copies come with mandatory Steam activations, online passes, etc. that essentially make sure you won’t be able to resell your game easily (or not at all).

    In the future, I guess there won’t effectively be a difference between a physical game and a retail one, except that you get a case with the retail one.

    I do agree that digital prices should be lower though. Partly because of distribution costs being (supposedly) lower, and partly because there’s still less demand for the digital version of a game. Granted, you can sell them in stores. But imagine a mom going in the store and asking for a game, and getting a code to download something. Yeah. It might eventually take off, but not immediately. And it goes without mentioning that download games force you to connect your console to the eShop, something “certain people” won’t really want to do, lest their firmware gets updated. And besides, yeah, at least for now, physical copies can still be sold back or lent to friends. It won’t be an issue in some time, but for now it is.

    It will also depend on how they handle this. Will codes be sold in small boxes on the shelves for everyone to see, next to their physical counterparts? Or will you have to go to the cash counter, ask the guy for a code? Because the latter is a good way to make sure retailers will keep the prices high. Nobody will ask for a code if they have the physical game there, and thus codes will only be sold once physical copies have run out, allowing them to not lower the price for a long while. So the first option would be better, but it does create the risk of running out of stock, if the boxed codes run out. While in the second option I assume the codes would be supplied directly by Nintendo on the spot, making it impossible to happen.

    Overall, we are still going to see physical copies selling more for a long time, so I think Nintendo should be pushing for lower prices on digital versions instead, if they want this to really take off. As for retailer codes, it remains to see whether they will really sell the digital versions for the same price. They have many ways to make sure it won’t happen, at least for a long time.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      “Nowadays even physical copies come with mandatory Steam activations, online passes, etc. that essentially make sure you won’t be able to resell your game easily (or not at all).”

      Of course, it’s worth pointing out that that is precisely the reason why PC gaming is a lot more niche today then it was 15 or even 10 years ago. PC gaming was never a particularly accessible form of gaming to begin with (since it’s more technically demanding on the user than console gaming), but DRM not only made the issue of accessibility and technical problems even worse, it completely obliterated the used PC gaming market. Meaning that anyone interested in playing a PC game either had to pay full price and risk gettign burned or not play PC games at all. Unsuprisingly, most opted for the second option, especially if they got burned once or twice by a purchase.

      Needless to say, if console makers try to do this, they won’t just shoot themselves in the foot….they will preety much be commiting seppuku. Heck, we currently only have rumours that Sony’s and Microsoft’s next consoles will render used copies unplayable and gamers are already responding with hostility. Customers need some form of risk mitigation (and it’s not like such things don’t exist in other mediums); otherwise they will find your products more risk than it is actually worth.

      • malek86

        Not so easy there. If only Sony or Microsoft did that, they would be shooting themselves in the foot, yes. But if Sony and Microsoft and Nintendo all did it, consumers would have little choice in the matter, and it would only be up to retailers to try and lobby them out of their ideas so they can keep on making money on used game sales.

    • Iwata mentioned that there wouldn’t be inventory/shelf issues with codes at their earnings briefing, so my assumption is that there will be some sort of counter or perhaps machine that you avail download codes from. They won’t be kept in a box next to the physical copies on the shelves.

      • malek86

        Which will make it more difficult to see lower prices, since companies won’t really feel the need to lower them. If they had to store the codes in their shelves and inventory, they’d eventually want to get rid of them and thus decrease the prices. If they just get the codes directly from Nintendo, they’ll simply say “oh, who cares if people buy boxed or retail?” and keep selling them at high prices. In fact, they might even want to keep the boxed prices lower than the digital ones, after all clearing the shelves first would be one of their priorities.

        Our only hope is that retailers will start competing with each other, but if it hasn’t really happened with boxed games, I doubt it will happen with this.

  • i prefer buy a physical copy if the price is same

  • Tom_Phoenix

    “Explaining why this is to investors, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, stated that Nintendo do not feel that downloadable versions of games are of lower value than physical copies. For instance, Iwata suggests, there are consumers who value the convenience of being able to take all your games with you at once, instead of having to carry multiple cartridges around to have access to your entire library.”

    While some consumers do value the convenience of not having to carry multiple cartridges around, a lot of consumers also care about the convenience of being able to sell or borrow their copy of the game. Beacuse that is not possible when buying digital, downloadable versions of games definitely have a lower value in the eyes of those consumers.

    Having said that, I can’t help but feel that Nintendo is actually VERY well aware of that and are charging full price for digital games in their own eShop beacuse:

    a) They realise that, in spite of the option, most of their business will still occur at retail.

    b) They want to encourage consumers to go bargain hunting and buy digital games at retailers. This would not only spare Nintendo any billing costs, it would also help Nintendo foster and maintain good relations with retailers, since the growth of Nintendo’s digital business would then be an opportunity rather than a threat to them.

    c) Since there will be a very small amount of direct transactions on the eShop itself due to a) and b), they want to squeeze any penny they can from the few direct sales that they will make.

    Overall, while it doesn’t affect me personally, I have to admit that this is a preety clever system. It’s kind of ironic how the future of digital distribution could very well lie in retail.

    • sd28

      said it better than i would have kudos to you

    • James Beatty

      I think of it more like Nintendo not saying F#CK YOU! to the retailers. Like other companies are 

  • As awesome as digital download are I prefer my cartridge.

  • isfuturebright

    If the price is the same… I have no reason to get it digitally. They should make some sales like on Steam…

    • James Beatty

      Well, you can always have THAT game on your 3DS at all times. For example, when smash bros comes out you can have that saved on your 3DS so you don’t have to take the cartidge with you. And there can be sales if the retail locations want to 

      • isfuturebright

        Ahh yeah! I forgot about the 3DS side…sorry, my comment was towards Wii U. Yes for the 3DS I think this is a must! I like buying the cartridges but I think it would be great to have many games on the 3DS! 

        I also think Nintendo should update the 3DS so we could “install” the game on it when inserting the cartridge or have some kind of code that would let you download the game that you bought physically. 

        • James Beatty

          I also think Nintendo should update the 3DS so we could “install” the game on it when inserting the cartridge or have some kind of code that would let you download the game that you bought physically. ” Although a cool idea, I don’t think Consumers are to be trusted with this. Why? Instal the game on your 3DS and then sell the retail copy. As for the Wii U, i don’t see me using that feature. My internet is slow and i can’t use it that much because if i pass a certain amount i get charged extra 

          • isfuturebright

            Yes, I see what you’re saying…! Well updates I’m hoping to see on the 3DS:
            – Simple multitasking. Put a game on hold and start just one app would be great.
            – A Skype/Youtube App. I know its a gaming device but they need to open up a bit…
            – Open themselves to indie developers. Sony will work like an Apple Store/Android Market with the VITA. Wich is great cause more people will make great games for her plataform.

  • SirRichard

    “Nintendo will not price physical and download versions of games differently.”

    One step forward, three steps backward into a ditch.

  • Jirin

    If there’s anything Nintendo would be against, it’s pricing games competitively.

    Why, oh WHY do New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 still cost $50?

    I can see reason for having the same price physically and digitally.  It’s not like first party Nintendo games are priced competitively anyway, they function like a monopoly and it’s just a matter of math:  Sales x (price – marginal cost), where marginal cost is extremely low.  Download and physical would only be different prices for companies who have to compete for their consumer base.

    Anyway, I would never download instead of buy a physical copy unless I knew if my Wii exploded I wouldn’t have to pay again to download again.

    • James Beatty

      Mario Galaxy 2 is worth every penny. Also, the reason Nintendo games stay the same price is because they are high quality games that retain their value. They also keep selling way after their launch. The only time i saw this not happening was with games that didn’t sell well like Metroid other m

      • Jirin

        I agree, Mario Galaxy 2 is worth the money, that’s why I bought it when it came out.  But so was, say, Mass Effect 2, and yet that gradually came down in price.  With Nintendo either it’s full original price or it’s the greatest hits collection, and they take their sweet time getting there.

        They’re the only video game company that can get away with that, because they’re the only video game company whose core fans don’t get games anywhere else. Kind of like what Square had in the mid-nineties, the reason we used to pay the ‘Square tax’. They don’t have to price competitively because they have a monopoly.

  • JazzWithAttitude

    This is will be helpful here in Brazil because probably will not have taxes
    but it would be better if the price were lowered…

  • HeatPhoenix

    Then surely it will please you that I hold digital copies to absolutely no value, Nintendo. And that I will only purchase physical copies of your games of which store owners want a high profit margin, of which shipping is expensive and probably the case moreso.

    Yep, no difference in value whatsoever.

  • eilegz

    “Nintendo will not price physical and download versions of games differently.
    If you download a Nintendo game directly off the Nintendo eShop in the
    comfort of your own home, it will cost you the same as it would to buy
    the boxed version.”

    Stay free nintendo, i buy the boxed version, their digital store will fail so hard arte they comparing to steam? did they know that steam its good because they have DEALS and SALES… otherwise i dont think that people would but anything there at that overpriced price with full of DRM.

  • totally disagree with this one nintendo… basically you have priced your digital downloadable content out of the market. Dropping the price would allow you to compete against the used game market, keeping the price the same will just feed that market… Nintendo can easily cut the cost and keep their profit margins since the distributor is out of the loop… weird move here ninny. I’d be curious to see how long they keep this position.

  • Setsu Oh


  • Jeremy Barnes

    Another reason to start forgetting about Nintendo

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